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How to Play Cypress Point Golf Club During a Pebble Beach Golf Vacation

by Craig Better

Aug52013

<center>A view from the clubhouse to Cypress Point Golf Club's famous 16th hole. </center>

A view from the clubhouse to Cypress Point Golf Club's famous 16th hole.

Q: We are two Aussie golfers traveling to the Monterey Peninsula for a few days. Do you have any thoughts on how we can play Cypress Point Golf Club? — Daryl B., Australia

A: We know a lot of the secrets to getting on some of the best private golf courses in the world, but playing Cypress Point Golf Club is an extremely tough nut to crack. The club has a small membership (200-250) and even if you know a member, there is a relatively little amount of unaccompanied guest play allowed.

As we have written before: “Unless you know a member who is willing to take you out or write a letter on your behalf, any effort to get on this Alister MacKenzie-designed shrine is often a complete waste of time, something to be avoided on a precious Pebble Beach Golf Vacation.”

We called the Cypress Point Golf Club pro shop to see if there is any wiggle room, but we were told, “There are no variations to the policy.” Sorry.

Having said that, where there is a will, there is usually a way.

Actually, at least 21 possible ways.

Readers of our guide, 21 Secrets to Playing the Private Golf Courses of Your Dreams, have gained access to Cypress Point and other famous clubs like Pine Valley and Oakmont (See below for how to get a free copy).

For instance, like us, reader Steven P. has heard the rumor that writing a letter to the head professional can sometimes be your “in” to playing Cypress Point.

A very credible source recently confirmed that this is possible, but it’s not highly probable.  Frankly, your chances are much better if you work your connections.

I said earlier that, “Unless you know a member…”, but you really just need a “connection” to a member, and given all the social networking options these days, (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) it’s conceivable that you know someone, who knows someone, who knows a member. As long as you can get them to sponsor you, you’re in.

And let me further correct myself about this. Your connection doesn’t necessarily have to be to a member at all.

Employees of Cypress Point Golf Club – everyone from the cooks in the kitchen to the pros in the shop – are allowed to bring guests to play the course. They’re limited to one guest per month if I’m not mistaken.

Another potential way to play Cypress Point is to join one of the 15 Alister MacKenzie-designed golf courses that belong to the USA’s Alister MacKenzie Society (there’s a separate organization for the UK and Ireland). In addition to Cypress Point, these clubs include:

Meadow Club (California)
Valley Club (California)
Pasatiempo (California)
Claremont (California)
Green Hills (California)
Crystal Downs (Michigan)
Alwoodley, Moortown (England)
Royal Melbourne (Australia)
Titirangi (New Zealand)
Lahinch (Ireland)
Cork (Ireland)
The Jockey Club (Argentina)
St Charles (Canada)

See, each year, these clubs send eight-man teams play in the society’s “MacKenzie Cup” tournament, which rotates between the above courses…including Cypress Point.

So, “all” you have to do is join one of these clubs and play your way on to the MacKenzie Cup team the year it’s held at Cypress Point.

A word of warning, however, from reader Walter L., who belongs to Green Hills: “The last time there was a qualifier to represent our club to play Cypress Point, 100+ members vied for the 4 available spots!”

These are by no means the only ways to access Cypress Point Golf Club.

There are plenty more methods summarized in the guide, 21 Secrets to Playing the Private Golf Courses of Your Dreams.

Full of my own tips and those from my friends at Golf Odyssey (a monthly golf travel newsletter published for 20 years), there are two ways you can obtain this guide…

1) Buy the print version at Amazon.com for $27

or

2) Download the free, electronic version below

(We have allotted 1,000 copies of the guide to give away for free in electronic format, a downloadable PDF. )

As I mentioned, readers of the guide have been successful playing Cypress Point, Oakmont, Pine Valley, and many other exclusive, private golf courses. The tips in here may very well work for you, too.

Discover How to Play Cypress Point
and Dozens of Other Top-100 Private Courses
Download for FREE Here (or pay $27 at Amazon.com)
This FREE guide gives you:
21 secrets to playing Cypress Point and other top-100s Get This Free Guide
Proven methods that don’t require member connections
A must-see list of public outings at top-100 private courses
Plus, get access to our weekly travel tips & private sales
Where should I email your FREE guide and handy tips?
Your valid email address Your first name Your zip/postal code
Rest assured, we don’t send spam and your info is never shared with 3rd parties.

Now, if you can’t find a way to play Cypress Point Golf Club, here are couple consolation prizes worth considering. First, we’d highly recommend adding Pasatiempo Golf Course (located between Pebble Beach and San Francisco) to your Pebble Beach golf vacation lineup. Like Cypress Point, this is an Alister MacKenzie classic, and it was recently restored to its original glory.

Second, given that you are from Australia, you might want to make your way to New Zealand and play the Cape Kidnappers golf course. While the similarities are relatively few between it and the Cypress Point golf course, both sit high above the Pacific Ocean and you can’t help but notice the striking similarity between the 16th tee box at Cypress Point and the 16th tee box at Cape Kidnappers, both of which are perched above the crashing waves.

Interestingly, just as (1921 Women’s Amateur champion) Marion Hollins had a big influence on Alister MacKenzie’s design at Cypress Point (and Pasatiempo), Josie Robertson had her hand in Tom Doak’s design at Cape Kidnappers. More importantly, given that Josie and her husband, Julian (who own Cape Kidnappers), are members at Cypress Point Golf Club, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the design of the Cypress Point golf course had at least some influence on the design of Cape Kidnappers.

Discover How to Play Cypress Point
and Dozens of Other Top-100 Private Courses
Download for FREE Here (or pay $27 at Amazon.com)
This FREE guide gives you:
21 secrets to playing Cypress Point and other top-100s Get This Free Guide
Proven methods that don’t require member connections
A must-see list of public outings at top-100 private courses
Plus, get access to our weekly travel tips & private sales
Where should I email your FREE guide and handy tips?
Your valid email address Your first name Your zip/postal code
Rest assured, we don’t send spam and your info is never shared with 3rd parties.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tom B. July 21, 2009 at 1:30 pm

They should try Ft. Ord’s Bayonet Course.

2 Dave E. July 21, 2009 at 1:31 pm

To my Aussie Friends: I was very lucky to have played Cypress Point GC last September. What a golfing expierence, by far the best golf venue on the planet. The weather was 85 degrees, no fog, and no wind! The ocean holes #15, and #16 were awsome!! I was lucky to par both holes. Even though I have some some connections to the golf business, I was not able to get on except that my niece was dating the head equiptment person for Cypress Point. He was able to get me and my best friend on the course. We went out by ourselves and had a great time. The cost was $100 each! (Worth every penny!) The cost did not cover the golf, just payment to our caddie who was great as well. After our round, we even got employee discounts on all of their golf items. This was a golfing experience that I will never forget! Like I said through my golf connections, I have had the privlege of playing some of the other private courses around the Monterey area like Quail Lodge, Monterey Peninsula C.C., Pasadera GC, and Tehama GC.

3 Dennis Z. July 21, 2009 at 1:31 pm

My three sons and i recently played pebble beach…..the course, the weather and the first class treatment by the staff was awesome……priceless and the golf experience of a lifetime…staying at the Inn at Spanish Bay(required) was ok but not worth $700 a night per room……..Spanish Bay was good but Pasatimpo and Harding Park are much “better bangs for your buck” dennis zukiwsky and sons red deer alberta

4 Jim R. July 21, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Amen on Pasatiempo Golf Course. We played it several years ago and it was our favorite course, and we played Pebble Beach on that trip. Be prepared to use every club in your bag. Can’t wait to come back and see what has changed with the renovations.

5 Glenn C. July 21, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Almost a year ago my wife and I played Pebble and Spy both were great even in late December (the 28th). Our caddie at Pebble, who used to caddy at Cypress said that he had just played Cypress with 3 people from Australia; however, they had gone out on Christmas morning at 9 am and couldn’t play but 8 or 9 holes away from the clubhouse. He seemed to know the schedule and that the course was closed on Christmas.

6 mj09 October 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm

The Monterey Peninsula offers the most spectacular golfing I have ever experienced. There are a few other courses you could play. I was pinching myself the whole time I was there just to make sure I was not dreaming. The Monterey region offers the best golf courses in the world! I just got back from the golf wonderland and must say this was the best golf vacation i have ever had!

7 Michael February 12, 2010 at 9:58 am

I’ve had the distinct privilege to play Cypress Point once. It was set up through a friend who had a friend/business associate who was a member. We were scheduled to be at Pebble Beach from Sunday-Wednesday but because unaccompanied play on Cypress was restricted to before 8:00am on Thursday only, we added four additional nights to our stay. My flight from the East Coast was delayed/cancelled/rebooked from San Jose to Oakland. I ended up getting into the hotel room at 3:30am. We teed off shortly after 7:00am as a twosome with one caddie. We experienced all four seasons but by 11:00am we had finished the round and were shopping in the small but well-stocked pro shop. We probably overpaid our caddie ($100 each). So, I flew from East Coast to West Coast, got 3 hours of sleep, spent an additional $2500 (meals, hotel, rental car, additional greens fees on subsequent days) or so for extending the trip and spent ~$500 in the pro shop all for 3 hours on the golf course. I shot 78, bogeyed 15, parred 16 (Driver to 30 ft in sideways blowing rain), amazed by #17′s beauty (never read anything about it) and let down by #18′s anticlimactic finish. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat and my wife would support my extravagance.

8 Craig Better February 14, 2010 at 1:25 am

Beautiful, Michael. Your story reminds me of that saying: When you’re on your deathbed, you don’t regret the things you’ve done, you regret the things you didn’t do. Kudos for scratching this one off your list.

9 Quezada February 16, 2010 at 11:57 pm

I am playing cypress point tomorrow.

10 Craig Better February 17, 2010 at 12:11 am

Congrats! Let us know how it goes.

11 Clayton Davis June 19, 2010 at 4:09 pm

yeah 18 used to be an amazing finishing hole. when it was first designed the teebox was out on the rock island that you can see behind you as you tee off. However the bridge kept being washed out so they moved it foreward.

12 David Campbell November 18, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Clayton, 18 tee wasn’t originally out on the rocks. Check out the great book Alistar MacKenzie’s Cypress Point Club. It has amazing black and white photos of the course when it opened!!!!

13 jose sousa melo February 11, 2011 at 10:53 am

Probaly im the luckiest of all as in 1966 i was a junior and had the chance to play Cypress 3 days in a row as i was staying with a member;38 years after, i called once again the member…and guess what? another 36 holes..cant wait to do it again…wonder if he is still there

14 S April 27, 2011 at 8:09 pm

I played Cypress Point 4 or 5 years ago. My work colleague managed money for a widow who’s husband was a member there up until his death. She of course remained a member for life. She did not golf, &/or was too old to give it a go. She invited him to bring a friend & come play it. He called me. Most beautiful views & inspiring course I have ever had the honor to play. I did not play well, but did have 2 birdies. Driving wind on 16 made it near impossible. hit it into the Pacific with a 3-wood. Barely. The lore & history of the course was the best. I absolutely smashed my drive off of the tee box right next to the front door to the clubhouse/pro-shop, with 10-20 people standing there watching. Must have hit it down the hill 310 yards. That was worth the trip. The clubhouse is like 10 feet it seemed like from the first or 10th tee, whichever it was. I’m an 8 handicap & shot about ninety from the tips. Bad wind, and no sleep contributed. Oh well. I’m sure I won’t play it again….

15 David May 11, 2011 at 3:42 am

I am travelling to San Francisco and the Monterey area in September from London with my two Sons who are both at University so Dad (me) is picking up the bill . It seems that Cypress Piont and other exclusive clubs are a non starter although we would love to play them all. What courses could anyone recommend as good alternatives. We want to play one round in San Fran area and two in Monterey area. Anyone played the Olympic Lake Course? Any help would be most welcome as we want the experience many seem to of had. Thank you

16 Craig Better May 11, 2011 at 10:18 am

As noted above, Pasatiempo is a great experience. It’s located midway between Monterey and San Fran. Heading north toward SF, you’ll hit Half Moon Bay Golf Links (2 courses), another treat. And south near Monterey is Bayonet and Blackhourse GC in Seaside (2 courses). Can’t go wrong there, either. Lots of other great options, too. Hopefully others will weigh in.

17 David May 12, 2011 at 5:10 am

Hello Craig , thank you for your help and I will look into your recommendations.
Our Golf organiser has recommended a course called Poppy Hills which in in the Monterey area. Have you heard of this one?
Regards,
David

18 Craig Better May 15, 2011 at 10:24 am

Absolutely. Very, very good golf course that used to be one of the venues for the Pebble Beach Pro Am. It is owned and operated by the Northern California Golf Association (ncga.org). FYI — if you are a member of a golf association in the US or Canada, you can join the NCGA for $25 as an “association member” and play Poppy Hills for the weekend fee of $72 instead of $200!

19 WW20 August 31, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I feel very blessed having just played Cypress Point yesterday and had a terrific time. The course is absolutely spectacular and played fair as the weather was low-mid sixties with mild wind conditions. The biggest surprise was the greens–many were quite difficult and very fast if you put the ball in the wrong location. Stay below the hole! I would also like to say that the staff was very friendly and hospitable–including the folks in the pro shop as well as the caddies. All serious golfers should play here at least once if possible–it is beyond great!

20 Jim R. January 4, 2012 at 12:06 am

I am a marshal at pasatiempo I will gladly barder rounds at pasa for a round at cypress point. Any takers from cypress?

21 Joanne Ally April 2, 2013 at 11:30 pm

what is best time for play golf in Pebble Beach Golf Links

22 Mark Newman November 3, 2013 at 1:05 am

We are planning a trip to Pebble Beach last week of February into
March. We are all single digit handicaps and would love the opportunity to play Cypress Point Golf Club. Does anyone out there have any connections that could help us out.

23 Jim Capps July 6, 2014 at 3:41 pm

First time I played Cypress was about 10 yrs ago. We arrived at pro shop early and requested to play. They let us off conditioned if we took good care of the caddies as they do not get a lot of play. Great day, great course and glad to take care of the great caddies. Next time I played we were called on by the member of a friend.

24 joe July 17, 2014 at 11:21 pm

i would love to play cypress! my best bud has played but asking him to get me on would be rude…. wish i new more people!

25 Leon September 11, 2014 at 10:31 am

I have a course on the Monterey Peninsula that I think is great fun to play. Try Pacific Grove Golf Links – a muni in Pacific Grove they call the “poor man’s Pebble Beach.” It’s usually in B to B- condition (low for most peninsula courses but good enough to have a nice round) and I thought it was really great. The front nine is so-so but still has some interesting holes. The 10th hole is THE dullest par 3 every built, but then you head out to the dunes and play 7 holes along the water. I’m a 1 handicap and enjoyed the heck out of it, and my wife is a 19 and also loved it. Cost is about $60.

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